Use barberries as hedges to delineate boundaries; to border walkways; to accent or surround a space, or to form an effective, thorny screen difficult for animals to penetrate. Try alternating green or yellow foliaged types with reddish purple ones of similar size for a colorful hedge. Many varieties make eye-catching specimen shrubs. These barberries are also excellent for filling in bare spots where poor soil or limited light discourages most other shrubs. Barberries, especially the dwarf types, can be grown in planters on patios and porches.
Barberry offers shelter to many animals and birds. Its dense, thick habit and many long spines are good cover for little critters. Many kinds of birds eat the berries. The berries stay on the shrubs all winter if the birds do not get them, so that barberries add a bit of color to otherwise bleak winter landscapes.